NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 23, 2023
The league-leading Bruins extend their win streak over the Sharks to 11 games, the Devils’ Jack Hughes reaches a notable scoring milestone, the Canucks replace Bruce Boudreau as head coach with Rick Tocchet, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins picked up their 11th straight win over the San Jose Sharks by blanking them 4-0. Linus Ullmark made 17 saves for the shutout, becoming the fastest goaltender in NHL history to win 25 games in a season. Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (37-5-4) as they sit atop the overall standings with 78 points, 12 ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Over the weekend, the Bruins announced that center Tomas Nosek will be sidelined for a month with a non-displaced fracture in his left foot.
The Bruins will have an opportunity to set the single-season record for wins if they maintain their current pace over the remainder of the schedule. The 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning share the current record of 62 victories.
An overtime goal by Dougie Hamilton lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jack Hughes scored his 30th goal of the season to become the first Florida-born player in NHL history to reach that single-season milestone as his Devils (30-12-4) sit two points back of the Hurricanes in second place in the Metropolitan Division. Sidney Crosby replied for the 23-15-8 Penguins, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 54 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins activated center Ryan Poehling from injured reserve for this game. He’d been sidelined by an upper-body injury since Dec. 30.
Arizona Coyotes winger Clayton Keller tallied a hat trick to upset the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1. Karel Vejmelka kicked out 35 shots for the win as the Coyotes improved to 15-27-5. Phil Kessel scored for the Golden Knights (29-17-2), who’ve lost four of their last five and hold a one-point lead over the Seattle Kraken for first place in the Pacific Division with 60 points.
The Winnipeg Jets blew a 3-0 lead but recovered to down the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 5-3. Karson Kuhlman tallied the winning goal while Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele also scored for the Jets (31-16-1), who move into a tie with the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars with 58 points. Kevin Hayes scored twice for the Flyers as they slipped to 20-21-7.
Los Angeles Kings forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored twice in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Kings (26-17-6) moved ahead of the Edmonton Oilers into third place in the Pacific Division with 58 points. Ian Mitchell replied for the 14-27-4 Blackhawks.
VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: The Canucks yesterday fired Bruce Boudreau as head coach, replacing him with former Coyotes bench boss Rick Tocchet. They also announced Adam Foote has replaced Trent Cull as an assistant coach while Sergei Gonchar has been hired as a defensive development coach.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It had been speculated for a couple of weeks that Tocchet would take over as Canucks’ coach. He has six seasons of head-coaching experience with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes and was also an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons.
Canucks fans knew this was coming but were understandably upset over management’s shoddy treatment of Boudreau leading up to his firing. Many took to social media to express their anger and disappointment with the organization.
Some fans also had a #FireTocchet hashtag trending on Twitter. However, that’s not fair to Tocchet, who had nothing to do with the Canucks’ shabby treatment of Boudreau. Let’s give him some time in the role to see how he does.
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels raised concern over the Montreal Canadiens’ treatment of Cole Caufield following the announcement on Saturday that he would undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. Engels wondered why the Canadiens’ medical staff didn’t shut down Caufield sooner rather than allowing him to continue playing through the injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a justifiable concern by Engels and he’s not the only member of the Montreal media puzzled by the Canadiens’ handling of Caufield’s condition. To be fair, reports indicated the young winger had been gritting his way through his injury, following the time-honored code of all professional hockey players of playing through pain.
Nevertheless, it was revealed there was concern that Caufield’s injury would worsen if he were hit or fell a certain way. That would’ve sidelined him for much longer and perhaps put his effectiveness as a scorer at risk.
Caufield is a foundation player for the rebuilding Canadiens. It seems foolhardy to allow him to continue playing with an injury that had the potential to adversely affect his playing career.